Speightster wins Belmont's Dwyer Stakes
NEW YORK (AP) Lady Eli and Speightster both remained unbeaten with impressive victories on the Stars & Stripes holiday card Saturday at Belmont Park.
Lady Eli, now 6 for 6, was the electrifying winner of the $1 million Belmont Oaks Invitational for 3-year-old fillies on the turf.
After settling mid-pack in the 14-horse field, Lady Eli rallied on the final turn with a dynamic eight-wide move. She quickly surged to the lead, needing only minimal urging from jockey Irad Ortiz Jr.
''I didn't rush her, I didn't take her back,'' Ortiz said. ''I had a beautiful trip. I had the best horse, and she took off in the stretch.''
The victory insured Lady Eli a return trip to the Breeders' Cup. The winner of last year's Juvenile Fillies Turf now has a guaranteed berth in the Filly & Mare Turf in October at Keeneland.
The 4-5 favorite trained by Chad Brown paid $3.60, $2.80 and $2.40. The time was 1:59.27 for the 1 1/4 miles.
Itsonlyactingdad was second, 2 3/4 lengths behind Lady Eli. She returned $19.20 and $9.40.
Outstanding paid $4.50 to show.
Speightster won by 2 1/2 lengths over Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner Texas Red in the $500,000 Dwyer Stakes for 3-year-olds on the main track. He hasn't missed a beat so far for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, improving to 3 for 3 with another decisive win.
Under jockey Jose Lezcano, Speightster stalked the pace set by Hollywood Angel before taking command at the top of the stretch, just as Texas Red launched a rally from the back of the pack and appeared poised roll past. But Speightster could not be caught.
Speightster paid $6.50, $3.60 and $2.70 as the 2-1 second choice. The time was 1:35.13 for the mile.
Mott said the colt might run next in the King's Bishop Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 29.
''I thought he ran against a very nice group of horses today,'' Mott said. ''The sky's the limit.''
Texas Red, the 9-5 favorite, returned $3.40 and $2.40 in only his second race this year - and first in more than five months. He missed the Triple Crown races with a foot abscess.
Trainer Keith Desormeaux called the Dwyer ''a beautiful step toward our ultimate goal, which is the Travers.''
The 1 1/4-mile Travers, also on Aug. 29, is the centerpiece of the Saratoga season.
Tommy Macho paid $2.90 to show.
Force the Pass pulled a 10-1 upset in the richest race on the card, the $1.25 million Belmont Derby Invitational for 3-year-olds on the turf.
Second for most of the 1 1-4 miles behind the pacesetting Bolo, Force the Pass knifed through an opening on the rail at the top of the stretch and pulled away to a 3 3/4 length win over Canndal, a French bred colt making his U.S. debut.
''Good trip, perfect trip,'' jockey Joel Rosario said.
Trained by Alan Goldberg, Force the Pass paid $22.20 to win, his fourth victory in six races. The time was 2:01.16.
Effinex edged Tonalist by a head in the 129th running of the $500,000 Suburban Handicap. Effinex got the nod in the photo finish, the sixth win in 16 starts for the 4-year-old trained by Jimmy Jerkins and ridden by Junior Alvarado.
It was a solid bounce-back effort by Effinex after being eased in the Brooklyn Handicap on the Belmont Stakes undercard. He paid $15.60 for the upset win. The time was 2:01.55 for the 1 1-4 miles.
Tonalist, the 2/5 favorite, suffered a rare defeat on his preferred track. The 2014 Belmont Stakes winner is 4-2-0 in six starts here.
Private Zone led all the way as the 1-5 favorite to take the $400,000 Belmont Sprint Championship. The 6-year-old gelding trained by Jorge Navarro and ridden by Martin Pedroza beat Clearly Now by 3 1/4 lengths, paying $2.70 to win. The time was 1:22.57 for the seven furlongs.
Irish Jasper rallied from last to take the $150,000 Victory Ride for 3-year-old filly sprinters. After dropping back to sixth, Irish Jasper rallied four wide to extend her winning streak to three.
Javier Castellano was aboard for owner-trainer Derek Ryan as Irish Jasper ran the 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:16.70. She paid $11.80 to win, beating even-money favorite Enchanting Lady by three lengths.